Learn from bad role models

Plus - recommended article - Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person

rolemodel3Role models provide an effective shortcut to learning. Find someone who is succeeding at what you want to do or who you want to be, study her, and copy her actions.

You can also learn from bad role models. Find someone who is failing at what you want to do or who you want to be, study him, and avoid the undesirable traits.

For instance:

  • Recently, I read a book that was poorly written. I was frustrated trying to make sense of the author’s sequence of thoughts (or lack of). I analyzed what it was that made his writing disjointed, and now I want to eliminate those characteristics from my writing.
  • I observed a leader who is autocratic, egocentric, and draconian. I don’t want to be like that.
  • I was annoyed by someone who talked too much. Do I do that? (Probably not; my wife calls me the king of brevity.)
  • I have an acquaintance who is reliably late to all our appointments. That bothers me and prompts me to analyze myself: Am I ever tardy?
  • I studied under a professor who was intentionally intimidating. I found it very unappealing.

Young people are particularly susceptible to the influence of role models so, parents and teachers, teach them the value of identifying both positive role models and anti-role models; train them to be selective in whom they idolize and emulate.

Question: What are your thoughts about this topic? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Recommended Article

Occasionally, I’ll include in a post, the link to an interesting article which addresses a different topic than the post.

Here’s a great article – Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person – written by Alain De Botton (May 29, 2016; New York Times).  He shares some good thoughts about why marriage is so difficult. My favorite sentence in the article is: “In a wiser, more self-aware society than our own, a standard question on any early dinner date would be, ‘And how are you crazy?'” Click here for the article.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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8 thoughts on “Learn from bad role models

    • Thanks, Wayne, for sharing your thoughts. You’re right: bad role models are to be found everywhere; if only we’ll take the time to spot them and reflect on them.

  1. Hi Don – a question about today’s writing: You introduce a term I’m not familiar with…”bot” positive. In technology, I understand how the term is used, but perhaps it contains a different meaning here.

    • There I go, coining new words 🙂
      “Bot” should have been “both”; correction made.
      Thanks, Dane.

  2. Great words of wisdom! It is much easier and less painful to learn life lessons from bad role models instead of going down that path yourself. If it didn’t work for somebody else, then more than likely it won’t work for me! I once read a book about the CEO of Discount Tires. He had failed miserably with three other businesses and was almost flat broke. He decided to change his perspective somewhat, and not only studied successful people, but also failures. He used a small amount money and built a tire empire. He learned from the failures of others without personally experiencing these same failures.

    The article on marriage is exceptional and so true!! Nobody is perfect on this earth, including ourselves. The worldview tells us that our Prince/Princess is waiting for us to ride away into happily ever after…. NOT! That is a made-up fantasy. Unfortunately, many try to make a marriage based on this romantic fantasy and give up when “crazy” reality appears.

    One of the best words of wisdom from Pastor Chuck that I remember is, “Love and commitment is a choice; not an emotion.” This applies to my relationship with the Heavenly Father and all others. Stay the course during life’s crazy times and God will help me through. He is always faithful!

    • Thanks, Marcy, for writing. I’ll investigate the story behind Discount Tires. I love that place; I was there yesterday and they fixed my flat for free. I’m glad you enjoyed the article on marriage. Take care, Don